By Gina Lee
Investing.com – Asian stocks were mixed on Wednesday, with investors weighing the equity market’s recent global rally against evidence that the fight against COVID-19 will be a long and tough one.
China’s Shanghai Composite fell 0.35% while the SZSE Component gained 0.03% by 10:52 PM ET (3:52 AM GMT), with capital city Beijing shutting schools and lifting its emergency level to level two to curb a weekend outbreak from Xinfadi market.
Some U.S. states such as Florida and Texas are seeing an uptick in cases and hospitalizations, sparking fears of a second wave of cases globally.
Meanwhile, India claimed 20 soldiers had been killed and China also reported casualties after clashes between the two countries earlier this week, the culmination of hundreds of soldiers facing off in three locations since early May.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was down 0.06%, even with the government set to further ease social-distancing measures on Friday, allowing public gatherings and wedding banquets of up to 50 people.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 1.15%, giving up some of its gains from Tuesday.
South Korea’s KOSPI was down 0.81%, with tensions rising on the Korean peninsula after North Korea blew up a liaison office it shared with South Korea on Tuesday and vowed to send troops to the DMZ earlier in the day. South Korea for its part stated though Blue House spokesman Dohan Yoon that it would "no longer accept unreasonable behavior from the North.”
Down Under, the ASX 200 rose 0.01%.
Investor sentiment further soured after International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief economist Gita Gopinath warned in his blog post on Tuesday that “the forthcoming June World Economic Outlook Update is expected to show negative growth rates even worse than previously estimated.”
The IMF added that the current crisis, which it christened the Great Lockdown, is “unlike anything the world has seen before.”
Meanwhile, the U.K. said that trial results announced on Tuesday showed that dexamethasone, which is widely available, could help critically ill COVID-19 patients by reportedly reducing deaths in hospitalized patients by up to one third. China’s National Biotech Group also said on Wednesday that phase II human clinical trial results showed that its COVID-19 vaccine is generally safe and able to generate an immune response. National Biotech Group is now looking to conduct clinical trials outside China.